Suspected bandit holding paintball gun when killed by customer: police

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Police said Reginald Gildersleeve wore a mask Saturday when he announced he was robbing Agencia Mexicana, 2701 W. 51st St., Gage Park. | File photo

A suspected robber was carrying a paintball gun when a customer with a concealed carry permit shot him to death in a grocery store on the Southwest Side, police said Monday.

Reginald Gildersleeve, 55, was wearing a mask at about 7 p.m. Saturday when he announced he was robbing Agencia Mexicana at 2701 W. 51stin Gage Park, police said.

Gildersleeve was holding the replica gun when he got into a confrontation with a 44-year-old customer speaking with a store employee, police said. The customer shot Gildersleeve, a convicted felon.

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Detectives notified prosecutors about the shooting, but police did not seek charges against the customer, said Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department.

“It was clearly a case of self-defense,” he said.

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Relatives said Reginald Gildersleeve shouldn’t have been killed. | Family photo

Investigators spoke to witnesses in the store and reviewed a surveillance video, police said.

A niece, Lacreasha Williams, apologized on behalf of her family for Gildersleeve’s attempted robbery, but she said his relatives still question why he was killed.

“Could you shoot him in the arm or leg? Did you have to shoot him multiple times? You didn’t have to kill him,” she said.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office confirmed that Gildersleeve was shot “multiple times.”

Gildersleeve had worked in construction and was a “family man” who adored his wife and children, Williams said.

He had a lengthy criminal record that included convictions for robbery, forgery, burglary and drug trafficking, according to court records. He was scheduled to appear in court next week on a trespassing charge.

Despite his criminal past, the attempted robbery surprised his family, Williams said.

“He must have hit a hard time we didn’t know about,” she said. “Now we’re trying to figure out what really happened.”

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The man, 44, and woman were found dead about 3:30 p.m. Monday.